Grass

Grasses and sedges tend to be taken for granted, because at first they all look the same. But there are all sorts of varieties adapted to the dry and damp habitats of the Hills.

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Bristle bent

Bristle bent grass is very springy so it’s nice to walk on. It likes acid heath land and can grow to about 60cm high. Sheep will graze on it. Its name comes from its bristle-like leaves. The word ‘bent’ comes from an Old English word (beonet) that describes straight, stiff grass – so it’s not actually bent at all!

Purple moor

Purple moor grass grows in short tufts. Its stiff blades are green and pointed. In June to October, it produces spiky stalks with purple flowers on the end. In the past it has been used for thatching and weaving. People also put it out for their animals to sleep on.

Wavy hair

Wavy hair grass grows naturally in dry grassland and on moors and heaths. It has wiry leaves, and in late spring it puts out delicate silvery flowers. Some types of butterfly like to lay their eggs on this grass. It is also an excellent shelter for quail and sparrows, who make their nests in the long grass.

Organic Meadow

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An organic meadow at Pepperhill Farm, where many varieties of grasses and wildflowers are growing. The grass and flowers will be cut and dried to make organic hay.

Cereals

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Cereals like wheat, oats, barley and rye are cultivated grasses.

Miscanthus

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Miscanthus is a new type of grass you might see growing as a crop in the Quantocks. It comes originally from Asia and has been grown here since the 1980s. In one season it grows to more than 3.5 m. It is used as carbon neutral biofuel, which is burned to produce heat and steam for power turbines.